11/09/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Food Safety Action Day (Join Us!)

I just got done reading President Obama's speech to school kids across America, and albeit a bunch of great messages (stay in school, do your home work, wash your hands, make your own destiny...) there was a theme missing: eat healthy, safe foods.

I remember my lunch box, decked out with Rainbow Bright with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a small salad, a little cup with perfectly shaped fruit (what were those cherries made of anyways?!?!) and a dime taped to the top for milk. These days, a lunch box like this can spell disaster.

Peanut butter with Salmonella; leafy greens with E.Coli; berries with Cyclospors...the recall list seems never ending.

Our current food system is broken and has been in need of reform for decades. Millions of people are getting sick from dangerous food every year.

National Exposure

This week, Make Our Food Safe, a coalition of public interest safety groups are taking the message of safe lunches to the streets.

Volunteers and policy experts are uniting on the sidewalks of Washington, DC to hand out lunch bags with a message to the Senate - pass comprehensive FDA food safety legislation this year!

If you are in DC we need volunteers to help hand out bags tomorrow, Thursday, September 10, 2009. We will be at the corner of First and Massachusetts NE, across from Columbus Circle at Union Station (map). We will be ready for volunteers at 7:45 a.m. and will hand out bags until 10 am. Immediately after that, we will deliver the bags to members of Congress, if you just want to come for the delivery, arrive at the same spot at 9:45am. (If raining call Darcy at 202-669-7340.) Any extras will be gladly put to work!

State and Local

Also, in Cleveland, OH; Concord, NH; Winston-Salem, NC, Austin, TX and San Francisco, CA you can join up with a group that is delivering the message to the district Senate offices.

If you want volunteer tomorrow in one of these cities call the number below and ask the organizer for more information including time and where to meet up:

-- Cleveland, OH: 216-533-2211
-- Concord, NH (9:30am): 502-640-4290
-- Winston-Salem, NC: 919-539-6619
-- Austin, TX: 512-651-2911
-- San Francisco, CA: 415-431-6747 (ask for Tim)

Even if your community is not listed above you can make a difference - send a message to your Senator by going to

In the coming weeks, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510) is going to be making its way through the committee process and the halls of Congress (think Schoolhouse Rock, circa 1980s). We need to keep the pressure on.

One message that the President did hammer home yesterday morning was that we can't sit back and wait for things to happen for us; we need to go out and make a difference. Well here is your chance to make a difference for cafeterias and dining room tables across America.